Top 10 Never to Play - Part 2

Top 10 Never to Play - Part 2

5. Liam Brady – Not a lot this lad couldn’t do with a ball, but sadly injuries and suspensions let him down when it came to him participating in major tournaments with Ireland. Some say he had the touch of a Brazilian, the stamina of a Korean and the silkiness of an Italian. Shame he couldn’t grace the World Cup with his presence as it would only have heightened the enjoyment of the fans.

4. George Weah – Liberian goal machine turned politician Weah is still regarded as one of the best African footballers of all time. Signed by Arsene Wenger in 1988, he had a highly successful four year stint at AS Monaco, scoring in over 50% of the matches in which he played (67 goals in 102 games). Weah helped Monaco, PSG, AC Milan, and Chelsea on their way to winning numerous honours between them, and was even voted Africa’s player of the century.

3. Eric Cantona – The man with a mouth bigger than the inflated chest posture he assumed after scoring yet another mesmerising goal for his team, Cantona certainly wasn't known for his humility. Many feel that the Gallic genius was responsible for bringing the glory days back to the red half of Manchester, a fact supported by his having been voted Manchester United’s player of the century in 2001. He did manage 20 goals in 45 appearances for Les Bleus and also had the honour of captaining the national side from 1993 until his infamous ‘kung fu’ kick on a fan in 1995, after which he was banned from playing football at all levels for several months. He then picked up where he left off for United, but to the detriment of the fans, he was surplus to France’s requirements and so his international career came to a premature end.

2. George Best – A 36 year old George Best was considered for the 1982 World Cup in Spain, but that was as far as it went. One of the most gifted players to ever kick a football, Bestie’s career was blighted by alcoholism, womanising and gambling. As a result the man dubbed ‘the Fifth Beatle’ managed only 9 goals from 37 international appearances throughout a 13 year period representing Northern Ireland.

1. Alfredo di Stefano – Having represented three (Argentina, Colombia and Spain) different national teams, Alfredo di Stefano had more chances than most players to reach a World Cup finals. Yet amazingly, the man who won five (consecutive) European Cups at club level with Real Madrid never played one minute of World Cup football. The closest the attacking midfielder from Buenos Aires came to the world’s biggest stage was in 1962 when he pulled out injured just before the tournament in Chile began, after having helped Spain qualify. That injury pretty much meant the end of di Stefano’s international career, and so the history of the FIFA World Cup was written minus one true legend of the game.

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